GPA calls for additional safeguards ahead of intercounty season

More than half of players polled were happy for the season to resume this weekend

GPA CEO Paul Flynn says the organisation are deeply concerned about their member’s welfare. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

GPA CEO Paul Flynn says the organisation are deeply concerned about their member’s welfare. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

The Gaelic Players Association have given the thumbs up to the intercounty season, which begins this weekend, pending the provision of additional safeguards for players.

In a canvassing exercise to find the views of its membership, the GPA circulated a questionnaire asking whether players were a) happy, b) happy if Covid protocols implementation improved or c) unhappy to go ahead with the season.

Results showed that 52 per cent were happy and a further 24 per cent happy if the implementation of protocols improved. A further 24 per cent said they weren’t happy – up by seven per cent on a poll earlier in the summer.

There was a 76 per cent response rate from members in the 48 hours given to polling with 1,695 players responding.

The safeguards sought include: stronger testing protocols, stricter compliance and oversight of Covid-19 protocols in all counties, and the use of the safest venue for games (location and facilities).

The GPA executive (NEC) also called for the decision of any player to withdraw from their intercounty panel because of their personal circumstances to be respected.

GPA CEO Paul Flynn said: “We are deeply concerned about our member’s welfare given the ongoing developments nationwide. The clear message from our members is we need to strengthen the protocols to protect the welfare of the players, their families and their communities.

“We also need to respect the decision of players who opt out of the 2020 season.”

Chair Tom Parsons said: “The NEC has taken our members views on board when making our decision today. This is not a full stop on the matter however. The NEC will continue to monitor developments with a close eye on compliance with Covid-19 protocols. We will not hesitate to take further action as we have been mandated to do if required.”

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